MLS Betting Odds, Preview & Picks: FC Cincinnati vs. Inter Miami (Sunday, May 16)

MLS Betting Odds, Preview & Picks: FC Cincinnati vs. Inter Miami (Sunday, May 16) article feature image
Credit:

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images. Pictured: Brenner.

  • FC Cincinnati makes its anticipated home opener at TQL Stadium against Inter Miami on Sunday afternoon.
  • The home side opened as +300 underdogs before being bet down to a smaller number, given Miami's short rest.
  • Ian Quillen explains below why the emotion of playing in a new stadium may be just the X-factor Cincy needs to pick up a win.

FC Cincinnati vs. Inter Miami Odds

FC Cincinnati Odds +230
Inter Miami Odds +114
Draw +245
Over/Under 2.5 (-114 / -114)
Day | Time Sunday | 4 p.m. ET
TV FOX
Odds updated Saturday evening via DraftKings.

The newest venue in Major League Soccer opens on Sunday when FC Cincinnati welcomes Inter Miami to TQL Stadium.

Cincinnati is one of two MLS teams still in search of its first win of 2021, having played its opening three matches away while waiting on the curtain-lifter for their new home.

Miami haven’t fared a whole lot better, earning only one point in their last three matches while scoring only once in that stretch.

The pomp and circumstance will all be on Cincy’s side, but neither club can afford to take the points at stake lightly.

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FC Cincinnati Looks to End Scoreless Drought

After scoring twice in the opening 12 minutes of their season opener, Cincy has conceded 10 unanswered goals while taking only one point out of nine total possible.

Those 10 goals allowed were tied for the most in the league entering the weekend, even though Cincy was only one of two teams to enter Saturday having played only three times.

In the two weeks since their last match, Cincy has signed former U.S. national team center back Geoff Cameron to help that leaky defense. But after arriving from England, it’s unclear if he’ll clear COVID-19 health and safety protocols in time to make his debut Sunday.

Attacking center midfielder Luciano Acosta (arm) is also listed as questionable, as are center backs Nick Hagglund (foot) and Tom Pettersson (Achilles).

Acosta has his club’s only goal from the run of play and has missed his club’s last two games. Brenner, Cincy’s other new South American signing, has converted a penalty but otherwise has only three shot attempts — and one on target — in 260 minutes up front.

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Inter Miami Must Find Scoring Threat Outside of Higuain

Former Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus star Gonzalo Higuain has gone 90 minutes in all four of his matches for Miami this season, missing only the club’s third game to go to his native Argentina following the death of his mother.

At age 33, it may be a tough ask for him to do the same again in Miami’s third match in nine days, especially when the second one was already trying.  After an on-schedule first half, the second-half kick was delayed three hours because of inclement weather. When it finished, Higuain failed to record a shot on target, and Miami lost 2-0 to Montreal.

The problem is Miami’s attack is hardly functioning without him.

Higuain’s fellow Designated Player signing Rodolfo Pizarro has only produced 0.2 expected goals (xG) and 0.3 expected assists (xA) based on his shots taken and passed made, according to StatsBomb.

Winger Robbie Robinson remains out with a hamstring issue, joining Nicolas Figal and Kelvin Leerdam among the players not available for selection by manager Phil Neville.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Cincinnati opened as close to +300 underdogs, an almost unheard of price for a home side in MLS, a league where home field matters more than most.

Despite their chronicled defensive failings, they were still a relatively easy play at that price, with odds implying a 25% probability of a win against a road-weary Miami side in an emotional day at a new stadium.

The question is if the hosts are still worth it now that the price has dropped to where odds imply a 30% chance of a Cincy win.

A retrospective on other stadium-openers is worthwhile. Since 2015, five of the six teams playing their first MLS games in a brand new stadium have emerged victorious. The other — Minnesota  — managed a 3-3 draw against what was considered a superior New York City FC side in 2018.

Are Cincinnati a lot better than their previous form has shown? Probably not. But after two weeks to fix some of their problems, is it sensible to expect the excitement of the day to carry them over an opponent who is on short rest and poor form themselves? Absolutely.

Pick: Cincinnati ML (+230)

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